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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Page: 1038


Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (16:15): I am very happy to speak in this place today about how this government is helping thousands of individuals in my seat of Robertson by scrapping the 15 per cent contributions tax on superannuation. We have been, are now and will always be the party of superannuation in Australia. Thanks to successive Labor governments, workers have $1.5 trillion of retirement savings. From the earliest days of compulsory superannuation, the coalition has been absolutely against it and has voted in this place on numerous occasions—on every occasion when faced with the possibility of supporting superannuation, and as recently as last year—to deny Australians the best that super can offer. Last year they denied a three per cent increase in super to all working Australians.

With this most recent development, scrapping the 15 per cent contributions tax on super for individuals earning less than $37,000, 3.6 million workers around this country will pay up to $500 less tax each year. That is one in three workers. In my electorate of Robertson it is 23,100 people—locals on the coast—who will be paying hundreds of dollars less in tax under this Labor government. But what will it look like under a coalition government? A frightening picture. Tony Abbott, during his address to the National Press Club, made it very clear as he stated that he will be introducing a brand-new tax for 3.6 million workers, including those 23,000 in my local electorate.

People rely on their superannuation payments to grow and not to be eaten away by taxes, and that is the only contribution to the superannuation debate that the others have: to shut it down, to reduce it and to make it harder for hardworking Australians to save and take away any advantage that this Labor government fights to give them. For someone on $36,000 accruing about $3,600 in superannuation each year, to lose $500 is a massive hit. For retirees to be able to live independently is a great goal. Many Australians are really proud of the fact that they have, through their work and their savings, been able to live a life of dignity in retirement without having to access the pension. For Australian workers when they leave employment to have that capacity, they have to have a strong, accumulating retirement nest egg, and that is precisely what Tony Abbott proposes to take away. This government is also committed to protecting the tax-free status of superannuation withdrawals for people over 60. So what we have here is a very clear choice: 3.6 million Australians getting a new tax from the opposition or a $500 decrease under a Labor government—a very easy choice for 23,100 people in my electorate.